Just south of Plattsburgh, Revitalize Keeseville is celebrating its one-year mark this month and according to Steven Engelhart, the group’s unofficial leader, the biggest thing they’ve accomplished is “a positive change in attitude” in Keeseville, and that’s huge. But the group has seen more tangible results, too. As a result of the meetings, the village now has a weekly farmers’ market in the summer, the downtown is undergoing major renovations, in part by property owners who attend Revitalize meetings, and the civic center is on the cusp of making a comeback. Keeseville’s Mayor Dale Holderman also attends the meetings and is in full support of the grassroots group, whose momentum has only gained since the first meeting.
It is certainly a new path to embark upon, one where communities become actively engaged in their own growth, where people turn off their televisions and begin discussing, and solving, issues that are sitting right on their doorsteps. It takes courage, co-operation and inspiration to enact change, and that change never comes without risks. But it is a greater risk to remain stagnant and wait for our elected officials to change things for us.
Maybe if we stop expecting help, and start helping ourselves, we can begin to see real progress in our communities. Just imagine a North Country filled with thriving towns and villages that represent the people who live in them, not the politicians who represent them. The good news is, it isn’t just a pipe dream—it is happening here, it is happening now, and, most importantly, it is actually working.
To become involved with V2A, visit ncvision2action.org.
The next Revitalize Keeseville meeting will be held at the Grange Hall on Main Street in Keeseville on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m.
For more information, call Steven Engelhart at 834-9328.
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